Anti-Bribery Management Systems (ABMS) in Malaysia

In recent years, the Malaysian government was jarred by a multibillion-dollar global corruption scandal that involved Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak. The subject was charged with abuse of power for a multimillion dollar looting of a state investment through a financial company wholly owned by the Ministry of Finance. Thus, the  elected President Mr. Mahathir Muhammad expressed his commitment to eradicate the corruption in Malaysia. Since the election victory, the new Malaysian government has been aggressively pursuing its anti-corruption agenda through the establishment of the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption (JKKMAR), the Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC), and the National Anti-Corruption Plan.

One of the preemptive steps implemented by the government is to tighten the cooperation procedure with private companies to prevent the practice of bribery between the private sector and the government. The first step taken by the Malaysian government is amending the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2018 (MACCA Amendments) by introducing section 17 A of MACCA 2009, which is a provision that specifically imposes liability on a commercial organization for corruption committed by persons associated with it. The provision demands every top level management of a company to fully comply with applicable laws and regulatory requirements on anti-corruption.

Through amendment section 17 A of MACCA 2009, every company, local or multi-national, based in Malaysia or elsewhere, is ordered to implement several measures to avoid corruption. The measures will be executed through a number of anti-corruption policies such as due diligence, whistleblowing, background screening, training on anti-bribery and fraud, and anti-fraud assessment policy. A company must also establish regulations and increase the anti-corruption awareness amongst its employees.

When a company is found liable, their directors, partners or employees, will be held jointly and severally accountable. Upon conviction, the person can be punished with a fine of not less than 10 times the sum or value of the gratification, if it can be valued or RM1 million (whichever is higher) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years or both. On the other hand, a company may rely on statutory defense if it can be proved that it has adequate procedures designed to prevent persons associated with it from undertaking such conduct.

The provision would be effectively implemented on 1 June 2020. The MACCA Amendments, which was introduced in section 17 A, is the beginning of the steps conducted by the government against corruption.

To comply with this Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2018, Integrity is ready to assist you in setting up your own Anti Bribery Management System. Integrity will also provide support for the implementation of the ABMS’s standards.